Clinton branded G-4 ’self-appointed front-runners’ for UNSC: WikiLeaks

By Arun Kumar, IANS
Monday, November 29, 2010

WASHINGTON - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked American diplomats to gather information about deliberations among what she called “self-appointed front-runners” for a permanent seat of UN Security Council - India, Brazil, Germany and Japan, a leaked document shows.

The directions from Clinton came in a cable sent on July 31, 2009 asking US diplomats to ascertain deliberations regarding the UNSC expansion among key groups of countries, whistleblower website Wikileaks revealed as part of its leak of a cache of a quarter of a million classified State Department documents.

Besides UN Security Council reform, US diplomats were also asked to collect information on the Indo-US civilian nuclear deal and pass it on to the intelligence agencies, the cable posted by The New York Times reveals.

Apart from the Group of Four or G-4 — India, Brazil, Germany and Japan, the cable also sought information about Uniting for Consensus group — especially Mexico, Italy and Pakistan — that opposes additional permanent UNSC seats; African Group; and European Union, as well as key UN officials within the Secretariat and the UN General Assembly (UNGA) Presidency.

It also sought biographical and biometric information on key NAM/G-77/OIC (Organisation of Islamic Countries) permanent representatives, particularly of China, Cuba, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, South Africa, Sudan, Uganda, Senegal and Syria; and information on their relationships with their capitals.

The cable also wanted to know about members’ plans for plenary meetings of the Nuclear Suppliers Group; views on the US-India civil nuclear cooperation initiative; besides members’ views on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT); prospects for country ratifications and entry into force.

The New York Times said the leaked cable gave a laundry list of instructions for how State Department employees can fulfil the demands of a “National Humint Collection Directive” in specific countries, “Humint” being the spy-world jargon for human intelligence collection.

The 8,358 word National Humint Collection Directive “reflects the results of a recent Washington review of reporting and collection needs focused on the United Nations,” according to the document.

The information Clinton directed the diplomats to ascertain ranged from basic biographical data such as diplomats’ names and addresses to their frequent flyer and credit card numbers, to even “biometric information on ranking North Korean diplomats”.

The cable, simply signed ‘CLINTON’, is classified S/NF - or ‘Secret/No Foreign’ - and was sent to 33 embassies and the U.N. mission offices in New York, Vienna, and Rome.

In a Twitter posting Sunday evening, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley denied that American diplomats were doing double duty as intelligence gatherers.

“Contrary to some Wikileaks’ reporting, our diplomats are diplomats. They are not intelligence assets,” the tweet attributed to him said.

He further downplayed the cable’s significance by writing in a separate tweet: “Diplomats collect information that shapes our policies and actions. Diplomats for all nations do the same thing.”

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at

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